Aug 30, 2008

Believing God -- Weeks 4 & 5


I was going to go ahead and skip week 4 since I didn't post it during the proper week, but I just can't seem to get over the fact that my post list would have weeks 1, 2, 3, and 5. I just can't do it.


So I have just a few thoughts from weeks 4 and 5 that I'll share, and then next week (I believe, and Lord willin') we'll be on week 6. All of us. Will be on the same week. Won't that be nice? :-)


For those who haven't been here before or didn't know about the "Believing God" study we're doing: we take turns posting our comments on either 2nd cup of coffee or on Meyers on the Hood. Many of us also post on our own blog, too, just to keep our weeks straight. eh hem.


Week 4 took us through the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11. We read the faith-filled stories of Enoch, who walked with and pleased God; Noah, who feared and obeyed God; Abraham, who trusted and followed God; and Isaac, who blessed and believed God.


It was a remarkable journey, to say the least. Probably the most profound thing I was reminded of from this week was found in the story of Abraham. Beth said, "One of Abraham's monumental tests painstakingly challenges us: time. Between 'go' and 'receive' is more often than not the faith test of time." She affectionately renames this condition the "Later Syndrome." *grin*


I have seen, over and over again, situations where God gives a Word, a promise, or a calling, and then says no more for a time. Sometimes a loooooong time. During that time is when we have the opportunity to trust Him and obey. We must depend on His promise and Word and literally live by that trust until we see it come to fruition.


I have been there, done that, and I've watched many people struggle during this time. During most of these circumstances, things appear to get worse before they get better! Beth poignantly points out that sometimes that's just part of the test. It's not until later that things start to come together and make sense.


Well, Amen to that. And again, I say Amen!


I've seen one who was promised that a loved one would be saved. It finally came some years later. How much prayer was spent on that person's salvation? One could never measure it, but you can believe that God was glorified when that person was justified!


I've seen marriages suffer immense pain and heartache. One marriage partner was promised healing if they stuck it out. Over a decade and a half later, the healing process finally begins.


I've seen job circumstances waver, hang in the balance, only to come crashing down. And then more waiting. How long can a family wait to receive an income? In this day and time, not long before panic can set in.


I've seen a calling given on the heart of a believer, and it not come to fulfillment for years.


Why? Why must we go through this period of waiting, wanting, and wondering? What good can come from it?


Change within the heart of the believer. God is preparing us for something that we cannot understand fully in this lifetime, but one Day we will smile in the realization that He really does know what He's doing. And He knows the time frames we're in...and can bust them wide open if He chooses to.


Week 5 continued on the same journey through the Hall of Fame. Beth used the stories of Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the falling walls of Jericho, and the Prostitute Rahab to share with us that we can do all things through Christ.


It's an incredible week of study, but I'd like to close with just this one quote from week 5:


"Our tendency is to think that if He loves us all the same and has a corporate plan as important as the individual, He must be spread pretty thin. God's love is measureless. His plans are infinite. He loves each of us and plans for us with limitless extravagance."


I think that statement sums up the two weeks for me. Everything we wait for, and everything we long to do or be for Him, has been thoughtfully planned out and provided for in His infinite wisdom. So that even if we don't get the exact answer we thought we wanted, we will be astonished at how He works everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Aug 26, 2008

E-Mealz - Works for Me Wednesday

What is your routine for planning meals each week? Do you have a systematic way of providing a variable, affordable, ambrosial feast for your family? Do you find yourself, as I did, running to the store more than once (or twice) a week filling in the dinner gaps? Do you ever find yourself glaring inside the refrigerator at 4:00 p.m. thinking, "What am I going to make for dinner???"


For me, this is what meal planning used to look like:

  1. Look through newspaper store circulars to get some ideas for dinners and try to narrow it down to only ONE store to venture.


  2. Spend time looking for a few coupons to cut down expenses. Go through old coupons and throw away things I never did use (most of them). Note: this practice went down the drain many, many months ago. This added nearly an hour to this already arduous task.


  3. Pull out cookbooks, recipe card box, miscellaneous recipes in folders, etc.


  4. Thumb through said recipes trying to decide if it's been long enough since I made it last time to make it again this week. Attempt to come up with at least 5 meals to make a grocery trip worthwhile...without pulling hair out.


  5. Develop a mealtime grocery list using all recipe cards/cookbooks pulled. Add everything else that's been written on scattered pieces of paper that need to be picked up. Peruse pantry, frig and freezer, bathroom, and cleaners to determine what else might be left off list.


  6. A minimum of two hours later, (and that's only if I haven't gotten up 142 times to beat my head against the wall), head out to the store. For the first time of the week.
Mealtime planning used to be so laborious for me. I love to cook, and I even love to plan meals...when I have some variety to pull from. After almost 12 years of marriage, my meals had gotten mundane. At least for me.


THEN I found out about e-mealz. I'm trying really hard to not sound like an info-mercial here, but hear me out! You will not believe the difference this tiny investment has made for me!


What it is:


Two sisters from the southeastern United States have started a business taking grocery store circulars and planning meals around the sales in our local stores. They post 7 new dinners for my plan each week, including the recipes, and the corresponding grocery list (broken down by store sections for easy shopping!) You can save and print the meals and grocery lists for the store you have chosen each week!

They offer plans for WalMart, Kroger, Publix, Aldi, and Ralph's. If you don't shop at any of those stores, then you can use the "Any Store" plan! Most meals serve 4-6 people, with the exception of the Dinner for Two option, for obvious reasons.

That leads me to the other options for certain stores (like WalMart): dinner for two, low-fat, low-carb, points system, and vegetarian! I just don't know how they do it!

And I can't understand where they get all these wonderful recipes, but I'm here to tell you...my family is chanting "We love e-mealz!" at almost every meal!

Here's a short list of some of the best mealz we've had from their collection recently:

  • Western Bacon Cheeseburgers, corn on cob
  • Tortellini & Sausage Soup, garlic bread
  • Chicken Parmesan, Italian salad, garlic bread
  • Filled French Toast, bacon, sliced cantaloupe
  • Smokey Orange Chicken, warm potato salad, green beans (this has been my favorite so far!)
  • Foot long BLT, watermelon wedges
  • Gourmet Chicken Quesadillas, Spanish rice

OH, I could SO go on.

I have noticed that most weeks include at least one crock pot meal, something kind of fun and easy (like Hawaiian pizza...oh, man, that was GOOD), and most weeks there is some kind of meat that I cook once, but use it for two meals! Anywhere that I can cook something for two meals at once, it will be mentioned in the recipe. Pure genius.

The total cost of all 7 meals (should I choose to do them all) is always somewhere around $70-80 per week...to feed 5 people! That's an average of $10 per dinner! For 5 people! The reason they are so reasonable is two-fold: 1) I'm buying for meals that were planned around sale prices; and 2) these meals are not weighted with a burdensome ingredient list; there are usually not much more than 5 or so ingredients in each recipe (aside from staples, like salt and pepper, etc.)

The grocery list actually has the prices on it, too, so I can see how much each item currently is at Kroger. This helps me tremendously, because I will take that list to WalMart only twice a month (which is all I can handle of WalMart...sorry, I'm not an avid WalMart shopper!) and I can compare prices! It has saved me tons, I'm sure.

Now, I can already hear some of you out there...yeah, yeah, yeah...how much is it? Well, I am confident that you will be as elated as I was (being the frugal-minded cheapskate I am) to find out that this exceptional service only costs $5 per month! Yes, that's what I said.

Close your mouth, dear. I know, it's a lot to take in. I was floored, too.

Now, they do ask that you sign up for 3-months at a time, so that's an even $15, but here's the conclusion I came to: each week, I hole-punch my meal/recipe list and mark which ones we had and especially enjoyed. Then I keep that sheet in a small 3-ring notebook (current one on top, so I can readily see my working menu).

What's my point? At the end of 3 months, I will have collected somewhere around 84 recipes...most of which we will have tried! Well, I ask you, how could I go wrong with that?

'Course, I'm pretty sure I'll be renewing my membership when it comes up...if I don't, I just might have a kitchen mutany on my hands!

Plus, my meal planning strategy has taken on a whole new look: print out new e-mealz plan, add to grocery list what's been recorded as being low all week, decide if I'm going to use all 7 meals or if I want to supplement with my own, traditional, "regular" meals! That is so significant to me, my friend. I add my stuff when I want to. Can the world buy such a jewel?

Click on the banner below to learn more and sign up!

It sure works for me...I'll bet it'll work for you, too!


E-MEALZ EASY AND DELICIOUS DINNER RECIPES

Aug 23, 2008

Fireproof

fireproofbanner


Some of our adult Sunday School classes got a sneak preview of the movie "Fireproof" Friday night.

OH.MY.WORD.
First of all, if you are planning to see this movie (and I pray you are), I will NOT SPOIL anything on this post...it's safe to keep reading.

But can I just tell you this is the best movie I've seen in a looooooooooong time!


This movie was created by the same group of Georgians who created Facing the Giants (another of my all-time favorite movies). Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea play the leads, Mr. and Mrs. Caleb Holt.

Since great things seem to always come in threes, I have three words:

Believable.
Relevant.
Adept.

Believable because the story line, the characters, and the situations of those characters are all things that any of us might see either in our own families or in others directly around us if we had the capability to peer into the private lives of those families.

Relevant because the issues that the Holt couple faces are those that are, sadly, so common in our day and time. Many different levels of issues are presented that almost any couple would be able to relate to in some degree. And the only true Remedy to those issues is presented in a delicate and beautiful way.

Adept because the cast, directors, and all those involved in setting this movie did a ridiculously professional job. Kirk and Erin (notice how I address the stars of this movie, as if I know them personally) each capture the heart and draw you in to this movie with such a distinct magnetism.

Over 450 people showed up for this sneak preview, and I'm sure that every one of us laughed out loud, cried inside (if not outwardly), held our breath a time or two, and applauded heartily when it was over.

Every couple who doesn't have Jesus actively involved in their marriage needs to see this movie. Every couple who plans to be married needs to see this movie. Every married couple in America needs to see this movie.

The Gospel is presented very clearly in the course of circumstances. So much so that our Sunday School director provided an invitation at the end of the movie for anyone who wanted to come to know the Lord and be saved...and at least two responded.

HERE'S THE THING: This movie opens in theaters on Friday, September 26. As with any movie, the first week of ticket sales determines whether or not that movie stays in theaters. It is urgent that all who wish to see this movie see it the first week to ensure that it stays in the theaters as long as possible! This movie has the potential of greatly impacting not only families in our nation, but individual souls for eternity as well.

We really showed Hollywood that we would love and support a movie like "Facing the Giants" with its clean fun, godly message, and Biblical standards. "Fireproof" has all that and more.

I strongly encourage you to consider who you could invite to see this movie with you. We already have two couples in mind: one lined up to see it with them on opening night, and another couple we will present tickets to on opening week. Make a double date out of it! Dinner, movie, coffee and dessert afterwards. It could change your marriage...and your life.

September 26. Say "I do" to Fireproof.

Aug 20, 2008

What Am I Made Of?

My friend, Jodie over at Dark Between the Stars saw this at Confessions of a Tired Supergirl, so she participated and I thought I'd do the same. It just looked like fun to list things I really love.

Besides, I can't seem to pull myself from the Olympics long enough to have a fluid thought!

The idea came from a quote that Susanna (the said Tired Supergirl) read that said, "The things we love tell us what we are." So here ya go.


my Sword

3 sweet boys

1 hunka man

family (mom, grandma, mother-in-love, etc.)

my sistas, my friends

worship songs

school books

old books (1800's)

dictionary.com

Pride and Prejudice (book or movies...any of them...all of them)

Jane Eyre (same as P&P)

Much Ado About Nothing (it's Shakespeare, but it's hilarious!)

hand-written letters

early mornings

yellow sunshine

autumn leaves

rolling hills

tall trees

lightening storms

deep red

chocolate (hot, melted, baked, drizzled, poured or spread...)

coffee, with a touch of splenda and creme brulee

homemade shortbread

Christ-mas

pretty serving dishes and silverware

old glass doorknobs on old doors

wooden floors

old church pews

roosters in my kitchen

Tuscan/French Country decor

homemade bread

cool sheets on a soft bed


Hey! I've got some of those...I think I'll go crawl in 'em!

What are YOU made of?

Aug 18, 2008

Is That Who I Think It Is??


Some people have issues with going to a big church. I used to be one of those people, actually.

"It's like going to a conference every Sunday!" I'd say.

"I'm just not cut out for a mega-church," I thought. Well, as usual, the Lord took another opportunity prove me dead wrong.

Because now He's showing me just how much He really can bless my socks off through a living part of the Body called a mega-church. We've been members of one in the North Georgia area for a couple of months, have gotten involved in a small Sunday School class, and are loving it.

Now, I want you to back up with me a little bit. Picture me in my van, kids at home asleep as I am heading to the gym in the early morning hours. Very early. This isn't a dream, I actually used to do this. I still go to the gym (sometimes) but it's usually with all the kids in the mid-morning. Whatever.

Anyway, the image is better the way I used to do it: early morning, no kiddos, jamming OUT to "In Christ Alone" by Travis Cottrell. Loud. This version of this song (it's on the Alive Forever CD) is one of the most perfect worship songs ever written, I think. I had heard the song before, even sang it at church before, but Travis slows the tempo down...and the lyrics just POP.

The first time I heard it was at the Women of Faith conference in Atlanta last year. Beth Moore was the guest speaker for the Friday afternoon session, and she has Travis Cottrell lead worship for her. I can totally understand why. A.MA.ZING.

Yesterday, I walked into our Worship Center while the congregation was singing its first song with the choir. I didn't notice anything different, but since we usually sit up front, I noticed that Scott, our regular Minister of Music was leading the orchestra and not the congregation...

Someone else comes from the back of the stage holding the microphone...someone who looks SO familiar...gasp...could it be???

I leaned into my husband's "space" and said, "I think that's Travis Cottrell!"

Travis started to speak, and because I spoke the narrator's part in the Easter musical that he wrote last year, called "3:16", I know his speaking voice probably even better than his singing voice because of the listening CD.

It was when he spoke that I knew I was right. I consciously remember staying very composed, and leaning into my husband's "space" again, I calmly whispered, "It IS Travis Cottrell!"

Then the very second I said that, the very first note of "In Christ Alone" began. Excitement welled up in my soul at the thought of being able to worship collectively with several thousand people with this angelic version of this song!

I remained poised, reverent and still.

My husband said I was acting like I was at a Monkees concert.




Let me just say for the record: No, I most certainly was not.

When it was over, my DH and I, together with our boys and another family of friends were walking out and met up with Travis on his way out. We shook hands and talked on our way out of the Worship Center like we were old friends. I even told him what my DH said, because I'm that secure in that I didn't act like that. Sheesh. But let me say this: he is every bit as cordial and friendly as he seems. What a relief; a celebrity who knows he's still human.

You, my friends, simply must partake of this Divinely inspired song...and turn it up.






Aug 16, 2008

Movin' On Up...in Faith



Kim at the Internet CafĂ© Chat has asked the following question…

“Tell about one time in the past 5 years where you took a HUGE Step of Faith in your journey with the Lord. What was the outcome?”

My husband (DH) was working for a company in South Texas. When they were bought out in 2002, the company merged with several others and moved to North Georgia. We stayed in Texas.

And struggled financially.

DH was attempting to run his own business in a place of economic stagnancy. Some businesses thrive there, but what we were doing is considered to be “a dime a dozen.” It seemed everyone and their Chihuahua was doing what we were doing. Makes it hard to corner a market like that.

One day DH received a phone call from his best friend and co-worker, who was in Georgia. We could use your help, he would say.

I had never lived outside the great State of Texas in my life. DH had for a short time lived in Nebraska, but leaving our home state was something he said he never cared to do again.

Fast forward a few months…to my amazement, DH accepts the job in Georgia and we are moving in about two weeks. All of our family is in Texas, all of our history, all of our roots. All our Ex-es live in Texas, too. (Couldn’t resist!...I just threw that in there for any of you George Strait fans!)

So we are now moving to a no-man’s land, as far as I was concerned. What would it be like? Where would we live? Where would we go to church? Who would our kids meet?

I began looking on the Internet for a rent house. It was pretty exciting, except I quickly started to realize that the rent we were going to have to pay was almost triple what we were used to! I started to whine to DH, “What are we going to do? How are we going to afford to live in such an expensive place? What will we do if we can’t make it?” The company was paying for moving us there; I was quite sure they wouldn’t pay to move us back if we chickened-out.

As I’m fretting about the cost of housing in this foreign place, my DH says to me, “Don’t worry about it; we don’t know what God has for us over there. There may be some old farmhouse someone is willing to let us rent for next to nothing.” Okay, okay.

FF again to a week or so later. DH was already there working, living in an extended-stay hotel. The company flies me in for a four-day weekend to find a house. Did you register that? Four days…to find a place to live. It’s a good thing I didn’t feel any pressure.

I hope you can read sarcasm.

I had done my homework and had several prospects lined up to contact as soon as we got there. I flew in on a Thursday afternoon, which gave me some time to get Friday morning’s contacts lined up. After I did that, DH took me driving around to see the areas he had been scoping out since he got there.

It’s another good thing that I had that afternoon to drive around with him and then get over my motion sickness. I was used to living on top of a pancake; this place was like living on top of a bowl of ice cream.

I think it may be time for lunch. I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, so driving around in this place took some getting used to.

First thing Friday morning, we met with a realtor about a cute little townhouse. Keyword here is little. It was very nice, and sort of in our price range, but very little. We were used to having two acres all to ourselves; I could have mowed this place in about 15 minutes. Literally.

So as we were wrapping things up with the realtor and telling her what we were used to, she says to us, “You know, I got a call from my Broker this morning, and he told me of an old farmhouse on two acres that is for rent. It’s just outside (insert the very town we were hoping to move to!) and you’ll be the first to see it; it’s not even technically on the market yet!” When we inquired, our rent was only going to be twice what we were used to paying (but so was our income!)

YOU should have seen my DH…he was bouncing up and down on his toes doing the happy dance, “Can we go see it? Can we go see it? Pleeeeese??” Okay, well, I may be embellishing that a little bit, but that’s a very close rendition!

The realtor was not free to take us, but she gave us directions so we could go look at it ourselves.
When we drove up to the house, both of us were in awe. The property was and is still the prettiest we’ve seen in Georgia. The house is very old, modest, and has much character…just exactly what we like. The oldest part of the house (as it’s been added onto several times over the years) was built in 1865, and was a post office during the Civil War! How could we have dreamed for more?





Front of our house





Some of our back view

Aug 14, 2008

Believing God -- Week 3 -- Miracles


WOW. What else can I say, but WOW. This week in "Believing God" has been in.cre.di.ble. I don't know about you, but I need to give the Lord a shout today for all He's done!


I love the phrase Beth gave in the video this week: "We believe little because we've seen little. We've seen little, therefore we believe little."


And the cycle goes on and on, doesn't it?


I'll bet, if we would all be honest, that each of us could say that we forget the wonders we've seen God do from time to time. Not immediately, mind you, but certainly as the dust settles from the sheer adventure of it, and we get going again on the hum-drum of life, we...forget. I like the phrase "forget to remember." Because we don't actually forget; it's still in there. We just don't remember. That's why God's commandments to the Israelites in the Old Testament, and to us today, are always accompanied with "remember..."


For example, the Lord told Joshua in the book of, um, Joshua, that he was to erect memorial stones at all the places where they met God so they could tell their kids what happened there...and pass it on. And I love how He ends Chapter 4: "...that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever."


Shouldn't we do the same?


So if you will indulge me here, I'd like to share just one of the many miracles I've seen God do in my life. I would love to say that I've seen several in the past week, but unfortunately my faith is just not that big...yet.


But my God is, though.


When Mini me was a wee bit over three, I was large-and-in-charge pregnant with our second child, Brown Eyes. You think I'm kidding, but I'm telling you I looked like I was shoplifting a Pilates fitness ball under my dress.


I was still working (you know, like for a paycheck) at that time, so one morning while attempting to drop Mini me off with the sitter, I planted my foot (that I hadn't seen in at least 4 months) in a deep hole in the sitter's yard. I was carrying Mini me on the protrusion that was the residence of my second son.


I promise you've never seen a girl and her two kids fall so hard. Because once I started to go...


TIMBER!!!!


There was just no stopping us. Everything seemed to be in slow motion, so as we were going down, I could see the concrete slab in the way of our fall. I was furiously calculating exactly how to fall to keep us from hitting it. Really, I was just throwing my massive body weight as far away from it as I could.


I almost got far enough.


I managed to land on my side instead of my belly, which spared my youngest. I managed to keep Mini me from hitting the concrete with his whole body. I did not manage to get him away enough to keep his head from hitting the pavement. Ouch.


I eventually left him with the sitter and advised her to keep a close eye on him and call me if anything didn't look right. About 30 minutes after I got to work, she called.


He wasn't out cold or anything, but he had thrown up once and was extremely lethargic. And he wouldn't eat. WHAT??!! I'm coming right over.


When I buckled him in his seat and headed toward the children's hospital, I kept trying to keep him awake. I was afraid if he fell asleep that I wouldn't be able to wake him back up. I was not in the condition to handle that kind of anguish.


The problem was that he wouldn't talk back. Those of you that know Mini me...you know he's a chatterbox. He always has been. No one knows where he got it, either. eh hem.


So anyway...he wouldn't tell me his name or my name, big trucks, nuthin. When his eyes started rolling in the back of his head, I just about came unglued. I worked about 45 minutes from the Children's hospital, but I'm quite sure we made it in 20. I kept thinking, "If a cop tries to pull me over, he can just follow me there."


As we were approaching our exit, he started to close his eyes and not open them back up! I was reaching to the back seat, screaming at my child to please, please wake up!! I could no longer keep him aroused.


As we took the exit, at the top of the hill, I literally, audibly cried out to God. Of course, I had been talking to Him between trying to keep Mini me awake, but this was different. This was a mother's desperate cry for her child.


Now, I am acutely aware that there could be someone reading this who's cried out just like I did, but got a different response from our God. He is sovereign over everything, and He alone knows why He answers the same prayer two different ways. But that's where faith and trust in Him comes in.


This time, He chose to perform a miracle. By the time I got to the bottom of the exit ramp, I heard my child say in the sweetest voice the most precious thing he'd ever said to me: "Look, mommy, a ambilance!"


I whirled my head around and saw my bright-eyed, smiling baby pointing his finger to the ambulance sitting next to us waiting for the light to turn green.


It was that fast. I can still see his face in my mind.


By the time we got to the hospital, the Dr. didn't even want to take an MRI because he said, "There's nothing wrong with this boy." Oh no, huh-uh, you are not walking out of this room without writing orders for an MRI -- STAT!!


He was finally persuaded to run the test even though my then three year old was playing and talking as if nothing had ever happened!


And of course, the test was clear.


Join the rest of us over at Meyers on the Hood for some more commentary from our lesson!

Aug 11, 2008

Oh MY Word! I Got Awards...to Give Away!









THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Joyful Sister at Encouragement from My Heart for her thoughtfulness toward this newbie from almost the other side of the world!


She has the faith in the Word and the lavishness to call me her Sistah...in Christ, that is! :-) My friend is one fortunate cookie to get to live in Hawaii (yeah, I know), but one Day, we will live together in the most beautiful paradise that has ever existed! Woo hoo! BE sure and visit her blog and give her some love back. She has an awesome relationship with our God and shares it like an open book. She also writes some gorgeous poems that I am confident will bless your socks off!


NOW, I have the enjoyable privilege of passing these awards on to other friends. So I would like to share these two awards with the following. And you should go check them out, too, because they are so worth your time:


Chel at Abiding Branch - She and I have been best friends since we were 3 and 4 years old. Even though we never went to the same school, God saw fit to keep us together all these years. And might I say there have been many. Now we get to serve together in a women's ministry called WOVEN. How cool is that? She is my perfect example of how God will do what He will to glorify Himself in everything. Because we didn't always know that our friendship would glorify Him like it does now. Wow.


Diane at Meyers on the Hood - I have gotten to know Diane through our Believing God online study. You should visit her again on Thursday and see what we all post in her comments about the study. She has an authentic spirit about her and an incredible testimony.


Jackie at Our Moments, Our Memories - Jackie has been a true blessing to me through her writing and through her comments to me. She is so sincere and real in both. Thank you, Jackie.


Jodie at The Sky is Only Dark Between the Stars - Jodie was one of my very first bloggy friends! This girl is a hoot, to say the least. She calls herself "Wordgirl," which is the second thing that attracted me to her...the first was the title of her blog. I absolutely LOVE the full title...you need to check her out! She's even Cajun...you just can't miss fun with that!


Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee - Okay, Linda, I'm sorry...I know you must receive a bazillion of awards from people all the time, but I simply cannot do this for my very first time and not include you. Linda was the very first blog I ever read, and the only one for like 8 months! I had no idea what a blog was, but I did a Google search on whatever it was (it was erased from my memory after spending two hours on Linda's blog!) and it pulled up one of her articles. I literally almost died that night from laughing so hard. I was SO hooked after that! She's my inspiration and my blogging mentor...again, sorry Linda. :-) Love you!


Meg at Life at Lonesome Pine - Meg is my newest bloggy friend. She and I have a similar writing style I think, except she's better. She's extremely friendly and warmhearted. It's totally like having a conversation when I read her.


Okay, so the rules are really simple: Pass these on...or not. It's up to you! But know that I send these out with sincerest warmth and admiration for each of you. Thank you for being a part of my world.


This is pretty much how you make me feel:









Aug 7, 2008

Believing God -- Week 2


Well here we are, having completed our second week of this awesome study! I am so anxious to see what others are pulling from the Word and this lesson!


A special thank you to Lidna Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee for hosting this week's discussion on her blog. Be sure and stop by and post a comment about this study, too (you know, like after you post one here!) :-)


Many of the things discussed in this week's homework are some of the very things that excite me the most when I consider the wondrous works of God...and therefore consider the wonder of Him!


In offering us a sliver of understanding as to who God is as He first introduces Himself in Scripture, Beth had us focus for a bit on the aspect of Creator God. She shared with us what she learned about the "improbability of the Earth's possessing all of the necessary conditions to support life by chance." From the book The Source, she quoted the "Estimated Odds of Selected Variables Vital to an Earth-like Planet Occurring by Chance."


Translation: An educated guess regarding whether it would even be possible for a planet like ours to haphazardly support life...based on just a few variables that would be absolutely necessary for said life. In other words, there are still other conditions that would need to be met; we're just looking at a few. Whew. Clear as mud, right?


So before our heads explode...the probability was 1 in 150 (and insert 15 zeros behind it!) that a planet with those qualifications could possibly come about! I don't even know what you call a number like that!! For the sake of apologetics, let's all keep in mind that probability in itself is a scientific measurement....hmmm. You mean Science actually supports the belief that the world was probably created? Hmmmm...


Beth also shared with us how complex and intricate a single cell with a nucleus actually is...as opposed to Darwin's limited understanding of the cell to be a simple, protoplastic cream-filled donut. Or something like that.


Well when I read about the cell and how much we now know to be true about the little machines that are inside every single cell, it reminded me of a program that I just went through called The Truth Project.


Some of you may have heard of it before, and I could easily write six months' worth of posts just from what I learned from it, so I won't go into a lot of detail about it here. But I do want to share one thing that Dr. Del Tackett taught that falls right in line with who God is as Creator.


He challenges the students to examine a chicken egg. Yes, you read that right. Stay with me on this, because this is good stuff.


He said that the eggshell has 10,000 pores in it. Just inside the shell is a membrane, and inside the membrane are four vessels. Two of the vessels connect the chick to the yolk for food and waste; and the other two connect the chick to the membrane. One of the vessels allows air to get from the outside to the chick, the other allows the CO2 gases to escape so the chick doesn't die.


Basically, if the egg had any less than 10,000 pores, then the chick would not receive enough air and would die. If it had any more, then the shell would be too brittle and would not survive incubation. Imagine that...the egg shell has exactly the right amount of holes in it! I wonder exactly how long an egg would have to experiment, under Darwin's theory of evolution, to get the right amount of pores so the chicks would quit dying?? Hmmm...


Wait, it gets better!


Around Day 19 of incubation, the chick becomes large enough that the amount of air it is receiving is no longer sufficient. So it begins to peck. Oh, but it can't get out right away, so do you know what our Creator God did? He's such a genius.



Have you ever boiled an egg, and when you went to peel it found an air pocket at the top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it)? I used to think that happened as a result of the boiling. Oh, no, sweet thang, our God is so thoughtful....


That little chick somehow knows that that pocket of air is there. Yep. And that's what it goes for at first. In fact, our God even provided each little chick with it's own pecking tool on its beak! It's called an "egg tooth" and it falls off after about two weeks.


BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!


So our little chick gets to that little pocket of air, which, by the way, has about six hours' worth of air in it. Just enough time for the very cramped baby to work its way out of the hard shell. Hmmmmm...I wonder how many chicks would die trying to get out because, under Darwin's theory, they didn't have enough air. How would the species have even survived that many takes? Just a thought.


See? I told you it was worth hanging in there for. And friend, that's just a chicken egg. One species of untold bazillions on this giant planet, in this huge solar system, which is in an enormous galaxy, which is part of an unfathomable universe. Wow.


Here's what it all boils down to:


"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." (Romans 1:20-21)


I am so thankful that our God not only created the earth and all that is in it, but He is able to do a new work any time...in the heart of the human. As Beth points out in Day 4, He doesn't take our old heart and our acts of self-righteousness and self-discipline to form a clean heart in us, He creates a clean heart from nothing (bara). A whole new work. Thank God for that.


Aug 6, 2008

Earthshattering Bible Lessons from the Family

Brown Eyes made this clever deduction the other day when talking to his little brother:




Brown Eyes: (indignantly) "The Bible says we should treat others the way we want to be treated. You should do what the Bible says!"


A lesson we can all take to heart, eh? Who knows what Lil'bit was doing. Obviously, ol' Brown Eyes, being the scholarly sort of fellow that he is...he had him on this one.


_________________________________________


Later in the night, the riveting saga continues:



DH was digging around in the frig like a crazed, hormonal woman looking for chocolate (can I get a witness... anybody?) He wanted something sweet. He had been on his confectionery safari for some time, and I heard him implore the Heavens: "Lord, help me find something..."


Do you know that man almost immediately found a hunk of chocolate chip cookie dough that I had forgotten about?

He must be living right is all I can say...chocolate chip cookie dough on demand. Sheesh.

Aug 5, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Friendships


Kim at the Internet Cafe has posted another interesting question for the week:


"What is one thing that you absolutely love about friendships? Why? On the other side, what is one thing that you find absolutely difficult when it comes to friendships? Why?"


What do I love about friendships?


Well.


I love the different levels and layers that a friendship can have. Allow me to explain what I mean: I have one friend, who is really more of a sister than a friend, and has stuck by me through everything since we were three and four years old (I won't say which is older! ;-P)


She and I have literally had layers upon layers of strong encouragement, mutual advocacy, and an avid, reciprocated protection from harm. All that is good is even peppered with occasional contention, aggravation, and disagreement. We have an over-30-year history of growing upwardly and inwardly, striving and laboring, and grieving and healing together. She listens to me like no other friend I've had, and shares with me her deepest and toughest thoughts. I simply cannot imagine my life without her.


And then, as if that weren't enough, there are other friends with whom I get to share the lighter things in life! I have a friend that is a perfect shopping companion for me, another who is a home school veteran I can question to death, and then there are others who are a sweet smile and a kind word at just the right time.


I love God's plan for friendships in this life!


Of course, any time we have relationship with other people, there is always some risk involved. I have had very few painful experiences with friendships, but the ones I've had cut like a knife. I've (quite recently, actually) gone through a time when I found it difficult to trust others who showed interest in a friendship. I questioned their motives; not because of something they had done, but because of something someone else had done.


Fair? Not exactly. Human nature? Unfortunately.


But God is the Ultimate Restorer of friendships and of the human heart. Believe me when I tell you that He really can use anything and everything for the good of those who belong to Him (Romans 8:28). Those are not just words of comfort, they are words of healing and Truth.


I know this to be true because He has since healed my heart. And I'll tell you one instrument that He's used to do it: it's in the gracious words of my new-found blogging friends all across the world wide web! I have found reassurance, comfort, and a renewed sense of belonging because of the beautiful women out there who aren't afraid to say hello.


I am eternally grateful to my new friends. Even if I don't ever get to "meet" you on this earth, I look forward to knowing each one in heaven for all eternity!


You know, only God could do that.

Aug 1, 2008

Believing God -- Week 1


"I've been over at Meyer's On the Hood this morning after finishing the first week of the Believing God Bible study by Beth Moore. It's not too late to sign up and get started on this remarkable study!"




Okay, so that's as far as I got yesterday morning. This post sat there like that all day long yesterday waiting to be written...it was after midnight before I could sit down to finish this post.


Can I ask you a question? Do you believe in coincidences? You know, flukes? Luck? Because I don't. Not since I met the Son of God!


Allow me to explain the sudden transition here: I have sat down at this computer an untold amount of times wanting to write this post. Something always got in the way. I think it was purposed that way because there was a small test for me coming...and it needed to be included here.


One of the biggest things I have gotten from this first week of study is that God, being who He says He is, loves and cares for me -- and I really am who He says I am: joint heir with Christ, and the seed of Abraham! So what am I so worried about all the time? Is He going to care for me or not? Is He good even when I don't feel worthy of receiving His goodness? Is He good even when things around me look hopeless?


These are rhetorical questions; of course He is. His plan always has His best interest in mind, which is also my best interest. And yours. He's that good.


This is what's been on my heart and mind all day. Since I've been acknowledging it all day, isn't it fitting that my belief in that statement would be tested at the end of the day?


Last night as I sat down to work on this post again, I got an email from a lady asking for urgent prayer for a mutual friend. A family that we know quite well was watching their house burn to the ground. The firemen had just arrived and were still connecting the hose to start to battle the raging fire as she wrote the email.


They have five children; the two older ones were out, as were the parents. A babysitter (family member) was at the house with the younger three children. Praise GOD they all got out in time and no one was hurt! The house was apparently struck by lightening, and the fire ensued in the garage. They have since extinguished the fire, leaving absolute devastation behind.


While I was praying for this family after I read the email, I was led to ask the Father for one very specific thing. I am always so careful about asking anything too specific because if it's not God's will, I don't want it to "look" like He isn't listening. Duh. Am I believing God or not? See, I struggle not with can He, but will He?


So I finally exercised my belief that God was leading me in this prayer, and I specifically asked God to pull something out of the ashes, something that was meaningful and could be salvaged.


My husband went to their house (what was left of it) just to be there for them. He called a bit ago and explained what he saw. He said the flames engulfed the whole house, coming out at the roof and through the windows. The family and neighbors just stood and watched as almost 20 years of their lives together billowed up in a wretched cloud of smoke.


But then he said something I had to ask him to repeat: he said that a fireman just came out with a jewelry box and handed it to Evangeline. She began to cry.


Today is Evangeline's 16th birthday.


They also came out with the hard drive off their computer...containing all their family pictures.


Lord, in your infinite wisdom and foreknowledge, You have asked me to pray for something You had already determined to do. I believe you did that to show me that I can trust You when You lead me to pray for something, even when it's something that seems insignificant. How can I forget how you have everything in mind, you know what we need before we even know it, and you never, ever forget even the small things about us? Forgive me for my forgetfulness and my unbelief.